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November 22, 2005

This post was archived from the original website for Fawlty Towers Revisited, which premiered on public television in 2005.

Because Fawlty Towers Revisited will premiere on PBS stations  throughout the U.S. beginning the first weekend in December — be sure to check the time and date for the station nearest you using the link above — we just know that Fawtly Towers is certain to be a very popular topic of conversation at upcoming holiday soirees.

So, to ensure you are well prepared, we are compiling a list of Fawlty Facts to know from each of the 12 episodes:

First Season

“ A Touch of Class” – series 1, episode 1

-   Sign at beginning reads ‘Fawlty Towers’ with “S” hanging down
-    Ad for Fawlty Towers placed in Country Life magazine at a cost of 40 pounds to attract a better class of clientele
-    Quick mention that Fawlty Towers has 22 rooms

-  Food ordered by Mr. Brown in dining room
o    grapefruit

o    tomato soup

o    lamb casserole

o    sprouts & carrots

o    ½ bottle of Beaujolais wine
-    Lord Melbury cashes a check with Basil for 200 pounds

-    Fawlty Towers bank is Lloyds Bank

-   Drinks ordered in bar
o    gin & orange

o    lemon squash

o    scotch & water

o    dry sherry
-    Continuity problem when Basil slams down picture at
end of episode with the sound of glass breaking.  No glass at all in
Fawlty Towers “The Builders” – series 1, episode 2

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Fawlty Tower’ with “L” hanging down

-    Polly mentions address for Fawlty Towers is 16 Elwood Avenue

-    Food mentioned by Manuel as available on the menu
o    beef

o    veal

o    sausages (bangers)
-    Basil mentions that Miss Tibbs and Miss Gatsby will
have to dine at the Gleneagles tonight because the kitchen will be

-    Polly lives in room 5 (taking nap when O’ Reilly’s men come to work on hotel)

“The Wedding Party” – series 1, episode 3

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Faw ty Tower’ with the “L” missing and the “W” falling down

-    Basil mentions that the Major is the “longest standing resident” of Fawlty Towers

-    Mrs. Peignoir is an antique dealer

-    Basil mentions that room #12 is the only room in Fawlty Towers that has a double bed

-    It’s Manuel’s birthday, and he gets an umbrella as a gift from Basil and Sybil

-    Manuel mentions in during this “thank you” to Basil that he has 5 brothers and 4 sisters in Spain

-    Basil reads Jaws in bed, Sybil is reading Sexy Laughs magazine

“Hotel Inspectors” – series 1, episode 4

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Faw ty To er’ with “L” missing and “W” missing

-    Basil makes quick mention of owning hotel for 12 years (makes reference twice)

-    Sybil mentions that Bill Morton is the friend that
heard about hotel inspectors being in town (FYI, Bill Morton is
long-time friend of John Cleese)

-    Basil introduces Polly “Sherman” to Mr. Hutchinson

-    Food ordered by Mr. Hutchinson in dining room
o    Spanish omelet

o    Cheese salad

o    Ginger beer
-   Food ordered by Mr. Walt in dining room
o    pate

o    lamb casserole

o    bottle of Alexe Corton wine
-   Real hotel inspectors describe Fawlty Towers as having 26 bedrooms, 12 with a private bath

“Gourmet Night” – series 1, episode 5

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Warty Towels’

-    License plate on Basil’s Austin 1100 Estate Car is WLG142E.

-   Food ordered by family in dining room
o    chips
-    Andre’s Restaurant is Basil’s favorite restaurant
(FYI, Andre says the best night for gourmet night is Thursday)

-    Chef for Gourmet Night comes from Andre’s Restaurant, and his name is Kurt

-    Manuel mentions that he will cook paella for everyone

-    Food Polly mentions when telling Basil about Kurt being drunk
o    shrimps

o    herrings

o    pickled onions

o    eggs
-   Food on original menu for Gourmet Night is lobster

-   New menu for Gourmet Night after Kurt is found passed out
o    duck with orange

o    duck with cherries

o    duck surprise (duck w/out orange or cherries)

o    appetizers are mullet with mustard sauce and salad mousse
-    Colonel orders Chablis with dinner

-    Continuity issue when you can see production crew member in doorway when Manuel comes into kitchen.

-    Trifle comes from Andre’s restaurant instead of duck.

“The Germans” – series 1, episode 6

-    No hotel sign at beginning of episode.  Opens with front of hospital

-    Sybil is staying at Northwick Park Hospital for ingrown toenail on right foot

-    Hospital chart says Sybil is 34 years old

-    Major mentions “Elsie”.  FYI, she was the
hotel maid before Polly.  According to Basil, “she went to Canada a couple of years ago.”

-   Food offerings for the Germans at dinner
o    veal chop with rosemary

o    egg mayonnaise

o    prawn cocktail

o    pickled herring

o    cold meat salad
-    Continuity issue where you can see TV monitor in
office which has the camera shot of Basil running from the Doctor

Second Season

“Communication Problems” – series 2, episode 1

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Fawlty Tower’

-    Sybil mentions Brenda as not be able to start until
Monday and asks Polly if she could do the rooms until then.  Polly
only works weekends, according the fire drill sequence, and needs the
money so Brenda must be the maid that works during the week.

-    Mrs. Richards first name is Alice.  She’s
staying in room #22 and paid 7.20 pounds + VAT for the room per night.

-    Name of the horse that Basil bets on is Dragonfly, running at Exiter

-    Mrs. Richards’ sister’s name is Stephanie.
Mrs. Richards is selling a house in Brighton and she’s offered 87,000

“The Psychiatrist” – series 2, episode 2

-    Sign at front reads ‘Watery Fowls’

-    Mr. Abbot is a psychiatrist and Mrs. Abbot is a pediatrician

-    The Abbot’s had beef for dinner and order cognac and port as after-dinner drinks

-    The name of a Welsh restaurant down the street from Fawlty Towers is the Leek House

“Waldorf Salad” – series 2, episode 3

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Flay Otters’

-    Guest at dinner mentions that the “prawns” are a bit off.  They order lamb casserole as entree

-    Another guest orders a cold meat salad as an appetizer

-    Mr. Hamilton (the American) orders a scotch & water and a screwdriver as pre-dinner drinks

-    Mr. Hamilton orders a Waldorf Salad.  Mrs.
Hamilton orders a green salad.  Both order filet mignons for
entrée.  Not knowing what a Waldorf salad is, Basil suggests a
“Ritz” salad.

-    Sybil is reading Never Love a Stranger by Harold Robbins at dinner across from the Hamilton’s

-    Mr. Hamilton says he would board his dog at Fawlty Towers.  Basil asks if they own a poodle?

-    Basil mentions that the Major has been at Fawlty Towers for 7 years.

-    Coming in out of the rain at the end, Basil checks
into Fawlty Towers, and he orders eggs, bacon, sausage and tomato for

“Kipper & the Corpse” – series 2, episode 4

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Fatty Owls’

-    Dog in the dining room is a shitzu

-    Doctor (played by Geoffrey Palmer) orders a scotch
and also inquires about getting some sausages at the bar. Kitchen is
closed so he orders a ham sandwich instead.

-    Mr. Leeman asks for breakfast in bed.  Orders
eggs, bacon, sausage and tomato.  Also gets kippers and tea.

-    Doctor tries to get his sausages for breakfast in the dining room.   Orders coffee.

-    Sybil calls the undertaker, Mr. Simkins, to come collect Mr. Leeman.

-    Continuity issue occurs when Miss Tibbs passes out
in the office upon seeing the dead Mr. Leeman.  You can see a very
prominent boom mike shadow on the wall across from them.

-    Miss Tibbs later mentions that she is 79 years old.

-    Continuity issue at end, when laundry truck leaves
FT, over the drive is a large entry sign saying Wooburn Grange Country
Club, which is the real location that Fawly Towers was shot.

“The Anniversary” – series 2, episode 5

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Flowery Twats’

-    Manuel makes a special paella for Basil & Sybil’s anniversary

-    The Fawlty’s are celebrating their 15th wedding
anniversary  Wedding anniversary is April 17th according to Basil

-    Terry makes mention that he can cook Spanish food
also such as gazpacho, chicken andalou, and eggplant espanol

-    Outside shot you can see a bit of the Wooburn Grange Country Club sign again

-    Roger orders a gin & tonic

-    Continuity issue in dining room when friends are
talking about Sybil, you can see quite clearly a boom mike in the shot

-    Another continuity issue when Sybil drives up to
get her golf clubs, you can see Wooburn Grange Country Club sign again

-    Cleese’s friend, Bill Morton, is listed in credits as “Vision Mixer”

“Basil the Rat” – series 2, episode 6

-    Sign at beginning reads ‘Farty Towels’

-    license plate on Basil’s car says DYF 747R

-    Health inspector in kitchen mentions cold rice pudding

-    Cat in the kitchen is put outside

-    Mentions Filigree Siberian Hamster

-    Manuel actually lives on the third floor of Fawlty
Towers.  Seen coming down a second flight of stairs before getting
to the second floor set of steps.

-    Another shot of Woodburn Grange Country Club

-    Mention of chef putting “Basil” in the ratatouille

-    Guests order veal and Windsor Soup for lunch

On the Menu for "A Touch of Class" — First Episode, First Season

November 22, 2005

This post was archived from the original website for Fawlty Towers Revisited, which premiered on public television in 2005.

Food certainly played a key supporting role in Fawlty Towers. So we thought it would be fun to provide you with the “menu” for each episode, as well as links to recipes for such.

In addition to picking up some ideas for your holiday entertaining, we also hope you will find plenty of inspiration for that perfect menu to
share with your guests at your very own Fawlty Towers Revisited watching party.

In “A Touch of Class,” the very first episode of Fawlty Towers which was broadcast on BBC 2 on Sept. 19, 1975, the menu included:

Grapefruit - recipe here

Tomato Soup - recipe here

Lamb Casserole - recipe here

Sprouts & Carrots - recipe here

John Cleese describes Fawlty Towers as "just little 30-minute farces that start very, very low key and end up absolutely frantic."

November 18, 2005

This post was archived from the original website for Fawlty Towers Revisited, which premiered on public television in 2005.

Basil Fawlty Earns a "D" in the Science of Great Comedy

November 16, 2005

This post was archived from the original website for Fawlty Towers Revisited, which premiered on public television in 2005.

In 2000, the British Film Institute selected Fawlty Towers as the best British television show. After a year-long poll looking for Britain’s Best Sitcom, the BBC announced this year that Fawlty Towers ranked as the fifth best sitcom of all time by British viewers.  A huge feat considering there were only 12 episodes.

Among foreign viewers — even some Germans — Fawlty Towers topped the list as the top British sitcom of all time.

Even Fawlty Towers, the hotel itself, was voted #1 in a poll Hotels.com conducted to determine the all-time most memorable screen hotels.  It
outdistanced other such “hotels from hell” as the Bates Motel from Psycho and The Overlook Hotel, which provided a winter home for Jack Nicholson and family in The Shining.

Such polls are a measure of the enduring popularity of a show, but how does one measure what makes a great comedy, great?

Well, you’ve heard it before….and probably said it.  Sitcoms are too formulaic.  But, have you ever taken the time to actually consider what the perfect formula is for a classic comedy? What makes some sitcom fail to make the grade and never get past the first season, while others are timeless treasures that make us laugh year after year?  Is there actually a science to all the laughter? Dr. Helen Pilcher, a British molecular neurobiologist by day and stand-up comic by night, set out to answer all of the above in a study commissioned by UKTV Gold, the satellite channel in the United Kingdom known as the home for classic British comedy.  Pilcher and her team of research scientists analyzed almost two decades’ worth of British comedies and actually came up with a mathematical expression for success, and failure. It’s quite simple.  A sitcom is a success if it scores high marks when applied to the following formula.

[((R x D + V) x F)+ S]/A

Where’s the simple part, your asking?  Pilcher explains:

“Comedic value is determined by multiplying the recognizability of the main
character (R) by their delusions of grandeur (D).  This is added
to the verbal wit of the script (V), and the total is multiplied by the
amount someone falls over or suffers a physical injury (F).  The
difference in social status between the highest- and lowest- ranking
characters (S) is added.  Finally, the total is divided by the
success of any scheme or stratagem in the show (A). Each term in the
formula is assigned a value up to a maximum of 10 to give an overall
scientific score.”

See how simple it is?

To actually put this formula into play, Dr. Pilcher established a baseline
which, hopefully, no comedy would score lower than.  One BBC show
from 2001, Orrible, came dreadfully close to achieving the lowest score among those tested.  By the way, the bottom score was a meager 6.5.

After lengthy research, the long-running Only Fools and Horses was voted No. 1 with a score of 696.  At No. 2, a relative newcomer to the British comedy scene, The Office finished with a 678 score.

Not to be outdone after 30 years of making people lauch in more than
than 60 countries, everyone’s favorite irascible hotelier, Basil
Fawlty, and Fawlty Towers came in at No. 3.  Another perennial favorite amongst British sitcom fans, Black Adder, came in a No. 4.

So next time you sit down and watch a new entry into the sitcom lineup, try thinking of
[((R x D + V) x F)+ S]/A and be your very own network television Head of Light Entertainment and give it a thumbs up or down.

And when you’re watching Fawlty Towers Revisited, with its more than 40 minutes of the funniest clips from the two seasons of Fawlty Towers, make note of just how much “D” Basil has and his perceived “S.” And marvel at all of the “F” and “V”!

PBS Revisits Fawlty Towers for 30th Anniversary Special

November 15, 2005

This post was archived from the original website for Fawlty Towers Revisited, which premiered on public television in 2005.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fawlty Towers, PBS stations across the country will check back in to the loony English hotel for an exclusive, definitive retrospective on what many consider to be one of the world’s funniest and most enduring situation comedies of all time.

Fawlty Towers Revisited, which will premiere in early December, is an 80-minute scrapbook filled with behind-the-scenes recollections and making-of insights from the Fawlty Towers cast and crew, and it includes more than 40 minutes of choice clips from the show’s 12 episodes.

We launched this blog to bring Fawlty Towers’ far-flung and fanatical fans together for a global online reunion and digital celebratory toast! For the next month, the blog will feature daily postings about Fawlty Towers, the cast and crew, trivia and interesting tales about how this iconic comedy and its unforgettable characters continue to entertain and inspire audiences.

This blog also features a link — see navigation bar above, “Find Your Fawlty Towers Revisited Station Here” — to an interactive map that you can use to find out when the PBS station nearest you will be broadcasting the show, as well as to get a direct link to each station’s web site and more information on the highly collectible, must-have pledge Thank You gifts. And we even will have tips and recipes you can use to host a Fawlty Towers Revisitedwatching party. The blog will have daily postings through mid-December.

Hosted by Andrew Sachs, who played “Manuel,” the devoted, but bumbling waiter from Barcelona, and John Howard Davies, producer and director ofFawlty Towers’ first season, Fawlty Towers Revisited features recent interviews with co-creators, writers, lead cast members and former husband and wife, John Cleese and Connie Booth. Cleese played “Basil Fawlty”, the inn’s boorish, ill-tempered, class-conscious proprietor, and Booth portrayed “Polly Sherman,” the chambermaid and tireless middle woman who worked diligently to lessen the fallout from Basil’s numerous missteps and Manuel’s blunders.

Fawlty Towers Revisited also includes interviews with Prunella Scales, who played “Sybil Fawlty,” Basil’s formidable, determined and thick-skinned wife; Bob Spiers, director of the show’s second season; and Terry Jones, one of Cleese’s Monty Python cohorts who shares the story about the English Riviera hotel that provided the inspiration for Fawlty Towers.

And fans will enjoy hearing about behind-the-scenes antics from guest stars in some of Fawlty Towers’ most popular episodes, including Bernard Cribbins from “The Hotel Inspectors” and Nicky Henson and Luan Peters from “The Psychiatrist.”

Fawlty Towers was first broadcast on Sept. 19, 1975, on England’s BBC 2. Ironically, while there were only two seasons and 12 episodes, the show’s clever writing, frenetic pace and unforgettable characters have kept it a Top 5 pick for the world’s best television comedy for three decades. This timeless collection of a dozen 30-minute farces has been shown in more than 60 countries, and it is a Digital Age testament to the show’s perennial popularity that a Google search on the show will note some 830,000 results.

The exclusive broadcast of Fawlty Towers Revisited on PBS stations nationwide is especially fitting because Fawlty Towers made its U.S. debut on public television stations in 1976, less than a year after it began airing in England. And it still is an audience favorite 30 years later.

Fawlty Towers Revisited is joint project of PBS and BBC Worldwide Americas, and was produced by Iowa Public Television.